Category Archives: Family Friendly Neighborhood

Ditch the Sprinkler with These Water-Efficient Landscaping Ideas

From efficient plants to water-smart landscaping, your lawn can certainly do its part to improve water efficiency.

Ready for a shock? The average household guzzles down 320 gallons of water a day—that’s about nine full bath tubs’ worth of liquid! And about 30 percent of that gets dumped out straight on the lawn. Conventional water sprinklers are so inefficient that about half of all the water they use is totally wasted.

Mulch the Eco-friendly Way

Mulching bed around the house and bushes, wheelbarrel along with a showel.

Many new gardeners assume that mulching is just for appearances—but did you know it does a lot more for your beds than covering up the dirt? Mulch not only roots out troublesome weeds, it conserves moisture in the soil. A layer of it around plants more closely mirrors natural conditions, since forested areas are typically topped with nutrient-rich plant debris. Inside this mixture of twigs, bark, and leaves are beneficial microbes that subsist off the decaying matter. As these organisms break down organic material, transforming it into soil, they give off a sticky, almost glue-like substance that holds the topsoil together so that it has a crumbly texture. Soil with this texture holds in water much more effectively than other consistencies. Mulching with organic materials like leaves or pine needles kicks off this natural process, so that the soil is less likely to dry out—and it also forms a protective layer that keeps water from evaporating as fast.

Forget the Landscaping—Go for Hardscaping

A professional landscaping job with stone path and stone steps.

Turf is overrated, at least where water conservation is concerned. Hardscaping, the collective name for stone features used to landscape a garden or exterior area, gets points for being drought-tolerant—and when used properly, can really add some modern verve to your lawn. A terraced backyard, for instance, uses stone boundary walls to create multiple tiers—which can then be topped by native plants or beds of pebbles.

Other options? If you have a smaller lawn, try extending your paved patio out further from the back door. Leave openings for attractive beds that provide a peak of color, without being too hard on your water profile. Or add a “dry creek bed” finished with appealing native stones and pebbles—as a bonus, permeable paving like this helps collect rainfall and return it to the soil. Curved paths, steps, and stacked retaining walls all offer notes of interest in the hardscaped yard. And the best part? You’ll never forget to water them!

Spruce Up Your Beds with Ornamental Grasses and Succulents

Cortaderia selloana Grass in the Park Citadel in Barcelona, Spain. The Park is also called Ciutadella Park. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia

Most lawns are pretty thirsty—experts recommend giving your grass about one to two inches of water a week, which is about two-thirds of a gallon for every square foot. That means that if you’ve got quite a bit of turf on your hands, your lawn could be practically guzzling water!

The alternatives take a little more planning—and a designer’s eye—but they’re definitely worth it when you weigh your water footprint. In particular, native ornamental grasses make for a pretty stunning display. Try pairing two species at varying heights for a more polished look. These work well along a fence or border wall, or in place of less drought-tolerant shrubs against your house or beside an entryway. You should try to pick varieties that are native to your area.

When You Do Water, Do It Wisely

Detail of a working lawn sprinkler head watering colorful flower in the garden.

No matter how hardy the plant, most species need a little supplemental watering every once and awhile, especially during the driest parts of the year. Certain techniques definitely are more water-efficient than others, however. For instance, never water your garden during the hottest part of the day. Not only will the water evaporate more quickly, meaning your plants don’t get the good soak they deserve, if the sunlight is very intense, the reflection from the water droplets could damage the leaves.

Likewise, you can adopt practices that will minimize runoff as well. For instance, a short watering—say one to four minutes—three to four times in a day is much more efficient than a long soak. If you must have the sprinkler, turn it off after a rain or in the winter, when most plants are dormant.  Investigate a water-saving smart irrigation system. Using your input, such as your soil type, area, and sun exposure, these WiFi-connected sprinkler controllers are able to create a customized watering schedule that delivers just the right amount of irrigation— no more, no less. Many can even access weather reports to automatically cancel watering if it’s just rained. And the EPA estimates that products labeled with its WaterSense efficiency rating save an average 9,000 gallons of water per household annually. That’s a lot of water for one little change! With updates like these, the future of our water table is right in your hands.

Top Tips for Pet-Friendly Window Treatments

Whether you have drapes, blinds, shutters or shades, consider these tips from Blinds.com to help protect your window treatments from your furry friends.

A new family pet comes into your home bringing love and happiness, but unfortunately, it often brings along a little home destruction as well. Flooring, furniture, upholstery and woodwork can bear the brunt of a cat or dog’s claws and teeth. Window treatments are especially vulnerable to the wrath of our furry friends: a wild puppy looking for anything to chew up, an astute retriever pawing at the squirrel out the window, or a cat scrambling for a spot on in the sunlit sill can wreak havoc on delicate window coverings.

Whether you have drapes, blinds, shutters or shades, consider these tips to help protect your window treatments from Buster the dog’s teething habits or Tigger the cat’s claw-full exercises.

Pet Friendly Window Treatments_Coldwell Banker_Image

Avoid Low-Hanging Fabrics
It’s no secret that cats love to climb things, and their climbing technique typically involves extending their claws and sinking them into any surface in their path. To a cat, there are few things more enticing in the home than those big heavy drapes hanging over your windows. One way to deter your kitty from climbing your drapes is to replace low-hanging fabrics with valances, which add texture and style while staying high out of reach. Valances cover the top portion of the window, so for extra privacy and shade, you can combine them with shutters or blinds.

Choose Durable Shutters and Blinds
Climbing cats and curious dogs often find their best entertainment at the windowsill—whether it’s to bask in the sunlight or keep watch against passersby or wild critters. While they’re there, obstructive blinds can become a casualty: cats can tear up the outer edges and tangle up accessible cords (which is also a safety hazard), while dogs can make a teething toy out of wooden blinds. The best way to protect your property is to install durable, cordless window treatments.

Plantation shutters are a stylish and durable window treatment that can withstand a decent amount of pet attention. Typically attaching to the window frame, shutters provide minimal access to the window so pets have a hard time pawing their way through them. Unless you have a particularly aggressive chewer, shutters’ thick construction can withstand more action from pets than most blinds.

However, certain blinds are more ideal than others in pet-friendly homes: vertical blinds on windows or patio doors that reach low to the ground allow dogs and cats to gain window access, without tangling, bending or snapping the slats, and they are a little more difficult for your dog to chew. Cordless blinds eliminate those enticing strings for pets to bat around, saving the life of your blinds and increasing the safety for your pets.

Implement Pet Deterrents
Of course, discouraging your pet from playing with your window treatments to begin with is helpful as well. Some pet trainers advise on specific methods to keep pets away from the window treatments: leave blinds halfway open so pets don’t have an obstructed view, or try attaching tin foil to the bottom of curtains to deter frisky claws.

While discouraging your pets with these training tools may help, they might not always work on a bored or anxious pet left unattended for hours. That’s why choosing the proper pet-proof curtains, drapes, blinds or shutters for your home may save you hassle, time and money. #cbrmr

 

14 Dewey Dr. Toronto

Open House – June 2 and June 3 2 pm- 4 pm

Get a Jump on the Market!

This 3 bedroom, 2 bath home, is Move-In Ready. Many Great Qualities Include: Hardwood Floors, Glass Door Knobs, H/E Gas Furnace, Central Vac… For the investor with Vision this home has a Separate Side Door Entrance, 3 pc. Bath, Large Rec Room with Wet Bar, and 2 Additional Bedrooms in the Basement. Great location across from a Elementary school and a block away from Public Transit and Shopping. Tomorrow may be too late! $784,000.

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OPEN HOUSE CANCELLED…Home Sold

Welcome to 128 Allworth Cres in Bowmanville.  Bright, open-concept 4 Bedroom Family home with stylish curb appeal, just minutes from the 401/407 in the historic town of Bowmanville. Ideal for  commuting and enjoying small-town living.  Home Features:  Crown Moulding , 9′ Ceilings and Hardwood flooring on the Main floor.  Family room with gas fireplace that will not cramp your style. Family sized Open Concept Eat-in Kitchen with Breakfast Bar, Built-in Dishwasher, upgraded cabinets and walk-out to yard. Spacious dining/living room with Gleaming hardwood floors.  Large master bedroom with 4pc ensuite including Glass Shower and Soaker Tub plus W/I closet. Secure family neighborhood that is walking distance to newer schools, parks, shopping and public transit. Just Listed for $550,000. #cbrmr

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